Just got an email from my credit card company asking me to pledge to “shop small” this holiday season. My first thought was that this is a clever way to endear people like me: you won’t catch me lining up outside WalMart at 5 a.m. to fill my cart.

On closer reading, however, the company wants to reward you for…spending money. That’s right: show your support of the anti-Black Friday crowd by buying something.

On the face of it, you support the community by “spending small.” Just plunk down $25 on your credit card to be part of the cool crowd.

But here’s the thing: in order to participate you have to spend $25 on your credit card. Friday.


Don’t you think a more genuine approach would be to spend nothing on Black Friday?

My favorite holidays are the ones when we limit our spending and make gifts. I prefer to haunt the arts-and-crafts markets for local goods and find rarities at the antique and junk stores.

Better yet, pledge to do something rather than buy something.

I made an appointment to give blood.


About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
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